THE HUNT is on for a Tech Commissioner to help supercharge the region by improving public services and drive business.
The Commissioner, who would act as a high-profile leader for the region’s digital and tech sector, is one of several initiatives set out in a new partnership between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Birmingham Tech, a not-for-profit community initiative (CIC) which aims to raise the profile of the region’s tech scene.
The partnership has been struck with the aim of helping the region realise the full potential of digital technology so it can transform and future proof its economy.
It will play a key role in delivering the WMCA Digital Roadmap which was launched last year to tackle digital exclusion, reach net zero and support the post-Covid recovery.
In addition to the appointment of a Tech Commissioner the partnership will establish a network of tech and digital ambassadors around the world who can fly the flag for the region, support new workspaces for digital and tech entrepreneurs/start-ups and ensure the region can maximise funding for the digital and tech sector.
Announcing the partnership in a speech at iCentrum in Birmingham to mark the start of Birmingham Tech Week, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As our region bounces back from Covid and we seek to supercharge our economic recovery, digital technology will have a central role to play.
“If we want to deliver growth and provide local residents with the high-quality, well-paid jobs of the future then we must embed the latest digital technology into West Midlands businesses and ensure everyone has digital access in their personal and professional lives.
“I’m delighted to be working with such a well-regarded organisation as Birmingham Tech to deliver growth through our digital economy. Digital adoption is accelerating and building a digitally connected economy and society has never been more important.”
The partnership’s two year, £160,000 programme will focus on driving greater investment in the region’s tech firms, both domestic and international and boost the number of national and international firms relocating or opening offices in the West Midlands.
Yiannis Maos, founder and chief executive of Birmingham Tech, added: “The West Midlands has a rich history of innovation, and this ingenuity will allow us to be at the forefront of the next digital revolution.
“Last year we were named the ‘fastest growing tech sector in the UK’, which is great recognition and testament to the collaborative work from across the region’s ecosystem.
“However, this is just the start, and we will use this solid foundation to empower individuals, enable tech businesses to scale and become a globally recognised tech hub.”